Land of dreams on a digital mission

Crater Lake Cyclist_Whit Bazemore
Crater Lake Cyclist_Whit Bazemore

USA has always branded itself as a ‘land of dreams’ for travellers around the world. So much so that it even launched a music video ‘Land of Dreams’ by Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal to market itself in potential markets. Interestingly four years after the launch this song still continues to be best showcase for Discover America. But now the dreams are being disseminated digitally as well. At least, that’s what the fourth annual Brand USA mission to India promised.

Grand Teton
Grand Teton

Starting this year, Brand USA, the agency that looks into the marketing and promotion of destination USA in international markets, will commence direct consumer campaigns in the Indian market. These campaigns will be more “digital” in character, with focus on young travellers and undoubtedly many of these campaigns will run through the social media.

Riding upon the success of ‘Land of Dreams’, Brand USA has now also commissioned world famous travel and adventure film makers MacGillivray Freeman Films of ‘Everest’ (1998) fame to make a film on USA’s natural attractions with a special focus on 100th anniversary of National Parks.

Carroll Rheem, Vice President Research & Analytics Brand USA
Carroll Rheem, Vice President Research & Analytics Brand USA

Carroll Rheem, VP – Research & Analytics, Brand USA said in Delhi last week that the agency has created “video assets” for digital campaigns and these will be driven through online platforms, which are frequently visited by travellers for information on US destinations. Brand USA has been running direct consumer campaigns in 10 overseas markets so far, and from next year, these will be expanded to 2 more markets, and India is one of them.

Leading a roadshow of US suppliers in New Delhi, as part of Brand USA’s annual India trade mission, Rheem said that the country is an important source market for the US, and there has been consistent growth in the long-haul share of India to the US over the years. In the last 3 years, this share increased from 20% (2012) to 26% (2014), she added.

While the US is looking for a CAGR growth of 4.2% to achieve its target  inbound figure of 100 million by 2021, the growth in Indian inbound numbers to the US holds a lot of promise with a CAGR growth of 9.6%, and is expected to continue for the next 5 years. Around 9.62 lakh Indians visited the US in 2014, registering a growth of 12% over the previous year. USA expects the Indian inbound to cross the 1,000,000 mark in 2015.

Only concern for USA is extremely volatile currency market and its impact on long-haul travel, but that is still to be watched out for as this Indian currency devaluation has yet not started showing its impact. Generally a devaluation of 10% could be a cause for worry but USA hopes it not to affect outbound travel from India to US.

Brand USA 4th India Mission Delegation
Brand USA 4th India Mission Delegation

US delegation included destinations, attractions, hotels and receptive operators. The Brand USA annual India trade mission recorded participation of 35 suppliers, representing 21 companies from the US. These included tourism boards like Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, San Francisco Travel Association, NYC & Company; Visit Florida, Visit Orlando, Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau;  DMCs like 7M Tours, Sans Incredible Vacations, and Maxim Tours; shopping attractions like Simon Shopping Destinations, and Sawgrass Mills; and hotels like Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and The New Tropicana Las Vegas.

The roadshow was held in Chennai and Mumbai, before concluding in New Delhi.

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